Crafting a Powerful Press Release
So you wrote what you thought was a great press release. But you haven't seen any results and are wondering why. Here's a question for you. Was your news truly worthy of the media's attention? If you're not sure--and you plan to keep trying--here are eight ways to make sure your business news gets covered.
1. Get the angle right. Take time to find an angle--a hook--and use it to grab the media's attention. If your news only supports a local angle, don't send the press release to national media. If your press release is about Asian food, don't send it to a publication focused on Mexican cuisine unless you've got a hook that relates the two.
2. Be the first. If you're the first of your kind--or your product is the first of its kind--you've got built-in newsworthiness. That's exactly what Visionaire Products, a Chicago-based manufacturing company, had when the company created the Peter Potty, a flushable toddler urinal. The company was the first to deliver this toilet training tool made exclusively for boys. As a result, the Peter Potty was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and on HGTV.
3. Be truly new. If you claim your product or service is new, be ready to prove it. Do your research and provide facts, figures and other evidence to validate your claim of newness. Reporters are trained to sniff out hype, so make sure you really are new or you'll blow your credibility with the media.
4. Be different. Be unique and stand out from the crowd of other businesses like yours. Indicate how you're different from everyone else doing the same thing. Do you operate in a unique way or offer a distinctive service? As with being the first and being new, be sure to do your research and offer evidence that supports your claim of uniqueness. Maybe your housecleaning service also offers to do your client's laundry. Or maybe your clothing store offers babysitting for busy moms as they shop. Whatever it is, point it out.
5. Be beneficial. When it comes to product or service benefits, your release should tell the media two things: 1) how the product or service will benefit its audience and 2) how covering your story will benefit them. Discuss the benefits of your product or service in detail. Tell how you meet a growing need. Provide supporting facts and statistics, and share stories of success.
6. Be timely. Above anything else, make sure your news is timely. Can you link your news to what's going on in the world now? Does your news relate to a hot topic, emerging trend or current event? Remember, old news is no news, so don't send outdated press releases. If you're trying to get more mileage from an old press release, find a way to make it fresh by making it timely. A wedding planner who put out a press release with tips for spring weddings might want to send it out again in the fall with tips for creating a fall-themed reception.
7. Create a tie-in. Connect your news to the news of the day. Holidays, seasons, special events and special occasions make for easy to create tie-ins. Travel agents, for instance, can submit press releases on honeymoon hotspots and trends when the spring wedding season begins to heat up. Florists are great at this, creating campaigns around all the major holidays, including Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, graduation and Thanksgiving.
8. Be informative. Provide news that gives audiences valuable information. Include statistics and quotes from reliable sources and experts. Offering tips is a great way to be informative. For example, an accountant can offer advice on saving business receipts for tax time. Or an auto shop can offer a checklist of maintenance tips to get your car ready for summer trips.